San Fransisco Bay-area couple Kate and Dale never expected to be landlords. But that’s exactly what happened when they decided to buy a three-bedroom townhouse for their daughter in her sophomore year at University of Washington in Seattle.
“Some of the campus housing we saw was horrible, and it was expensive, too,” says Kate. “We decided we could create a safe, good quality home for her and we thought it would be a good investment on top of it.”
Americans are ready to shake off the doom and gloom of the recession to focus on fun and relaxation, knocking “saving more money” down their list of top priorities for 2011, an annual New Year’s resolution survey by TD Ameritrade found.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they are less likely to make New Year’s resolutions about their personal finances this year than last year, saying their health and well-being are simply more important.
Women are ramping up their efforts to meet financial goals in 2011 and feel more hopeful about the economic outlook, but they’re still less certain than men are in their ability to actually meet those goals, a survey from TD Ameritrade shows.
Sixty-eight percent of women said they resolve to save more money in 2011, a steady climb from 66 percent in 2010 and 60 percent in 2009. Only 62 percent of men plan to do the same thing next year.
Here’s a reality check for any new parent trying to do what’s “best” for their child: go into a high-end baby store and ask for their best stroller. Chances are, it will cost nearly as much as your monthly mortgage payment.
When it comes to investing in your children, it’s no wonder parents are confused about everything from choosing the best toys to ensuring their extra-curricular activities will give them a leg up in the real world. So what’s the best way to guarantee your child’s happy, healthy and prosperous future? Depends who you ask.
Bob Hostetler begins most weekdays at 4 a.m. on his home computer before heading to the office at 8 a.m. As a managing partner at an executive services firm in the Washington, DC area, he puts in a full day of work before heading home for the evening, where he often logs in a few more hours of networking.
What sounds like a grueling day in the budding career of a 30-something is actually a typical workday for 59-year old Hostleter – and retirement is nowhere on the horizon.
Brace yourself, because George Cloutier has some unsettling news: your failing business is your fault.Cloutier is the no-nonsense CEO of American Management Services and author of Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing, a literary slap in the face to small- and medium-size business owners who wonder why sales are slipping and cash is tight.Like the gruff boss he urges small business leaders to be, Cloutier doesn’t waste any time trying to get you to like him — he wants your respect, and his book fires off rules without apology: “Love your business more than your family”, “End your denial” and, perhaps most startling, “Give up golf – it’s a waste of time!”Profits Aren’t Everything is peppered with real-life examples of businesses teetering on the brink of disaster because they invariably failed to put profits first. Of the hundreds of maxims Cloutier imparts, the profit rule trumps all others: “In the game of business, pure profits are the only prize,” he writes. The message is clear: fire your family members, skip your kids’ recitals. Do whatever it takes to bring your business to profitability.The book offers a few surprises, too. When Cloutier’s not scolding readers for taking weekends off or phoning their spouse from work (both definite no-nos), he insists they stop underpaying themselves and take a big, fat raise. His logic? A salary demonstrates who’s boss and if you can’t pay yourself like one, there’s something wrong with your business. (So fix it!)The endless barrage of rules would all seem like a bit much if it weren’t for Cloutier’s impressive track record. The so-called “Turnaround Ace” has made a successful career out of digging hapless businesses out of debt and mismanagement by demanding his clients fire dead weight, own up to their laziness and stop making excuses. And it works.Cloutier’s unrelenting “business-above-all-else” mentality is likely both his biggest asset as a CEO and his most damning fault as a husband, friend and boss. But if you learn anything from Profits Aren’t Everything, it’s that being a success isn’t easy and it certainly has nothing to do with being a nice guy.
Last year was a record for small businesses, which scooped up more than $93 billion in federal contracts, a $10 billion jump from a year earlier, according to a report by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).It’s good news to be sure, but critics are already grumbling that the government only allotted 21.5 percent of its promised 23 percent target to small businesses for fiscal 2008.Key among their complaints:* High costs: Small businesses often opt out of the running for government contracts for fear that they can’t absorb the proposal costs that can run as high as $25,000 to $500,000, The Washington Post reports.* Misrepresentation: Critics say large businesses have been known to fudge their size and scope to win contracts intended for their smaller counterparts, and urge government to penalize companies that do so.* Poor enforcement: Small businesses are calling for a tougher crackdown on government agencies that fail to meet their contracting requirements. (The SBA report shows that only one agency actually met its goal.)Has your business lost out on a lucrative government contract? If so, what should be done to ensure small business get their fair share of work? Share your story below.
It’s no secret that the economic downturn is having an impact on the careers of millions of Americans. Just ask Matthew Derra (pictured here), who found himself pursuing a degree in renewable energy after his job at American Axle disappeared.As the U.S. braces for yet another monthly dismal jobs report, thousands more will be faced with one big question: what now?Turns out, not everyone is looking for jobs in the field they once called home.”We’re seeing people more willing to consider opportunities in places traditionally they wouldn’t locate to,’ says John Flanigan, VP of staffing company Aerotek.Just as Derra found himself back at school, people are finding themselves in some unlikely scenarios. One former executive took an entry-level job after losing his job at Hewlett-Packard, a move he says set his career (and his salary) back by two decades.Sound familiar? Now that the job market has narrowed, what are you doing with your career? Share your thoughts below.
We’ve all heard of summer camp, boot camp, even fat camp. But how about a camp for young women with a knack for business?That’s the idea behind Girls Inc. Corporate Camp for Entrepreneurs, a week-long workshop held earlier this month in New York City for 20 girls between the ages of 15 and 18.Now in its fourth year, the camp hand-picked its attendees from a pool of 70 applicants across the U.S. who competed in teams with like-minded young women to come up with an original business product or service, complete with a viable business plan. (Think: The Apprentice, minus Donald Trump and the TV crew.)The resulting ideas were certainly unique. In a nod to eco-conscious consumerism, Team “Water Girls” came up with a calendar that monitors water usage with the aim of helping customers conserve and save money. (Watch their presentation here.) “Teenage Touch” presented a mini-service salon offering a range of beauty services aimed at girls. The young women pictured above created “Oh!Zone”, a 5-in-1 game aimed at getting adults and teen girls to talk about touchy issues like health and self-esteem.The winners were treated to 7 days of business-building tips and presentations from small biz owners and volunteers from Goldman Sachs Community TeamWorks with the goal of developing the country’s next entrepreneurial gurus.”By learning firsthand how women are successful in the traditionally male-dominated business world, they’re able to envision themselves as leaders in business or any career they pursue,” Girls Inc. President Joyce Roché told Reuters.Are we doing enough to encourage entrepreneurialism in young people? Tell us what you think below.Caption: The Memphis team of Girls Inc. prepares for its presentation of Oh!Zone. REUTERS/Handout/Duffy-Marie Arnoult Photography
Small business owners say they’re more confident about the economy, but they’re still plagued by worries about paying their bills and slumping cash flow, new research from Discover Financial Services shows.Their optimism is a bit of a head-scratcher, especially considering the slew of discouraging news the survey uncovers. Some highlights:* nearly 70 percent of small biz owners say their take-home pay has taken a hit in recent months.* more than half say they’ve held off on bill payment because of cash flow issues in the past 3 months.* almost 60 percent rate the economy as “poor”, and half of them said it was getting worse.So why the optimism?Ryan Scully, director of Discover’s business credit card, offers some context. For starters, he says the uptick in the confidence level is incremental (and a long way off its high way back in March 2007). And although only about a third of business owners think the economy is getting better, that’s up significantly from 16 percent in March.”So we can’t say exactly what is fueling their confidence, but not all of the news they’ve been hearing is bad,” Scully told Reuters.Interestingly, the survey found that business owners are shying away from traditional borrowing practices such as applying for a loan or getting a line of credit, possibly in favor of funding from friends and family, Scully said.Are you more confident about the state of the economy than you were six months ago, or do you think the worst is yet to come? Tell us what you think below.